The 2002 Mitsubishi Montero is an off-road champion. However, this SUV’s reputation took a hit when it was reported that it was susceptible to tipping over during hard cornering because it is tall, heavy, and have a high ground clearance.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Mitsubishi Montero XLS, Mitsubishi Montero Limited
Mitsubishi adds new standard features and reorganized the options packages for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero. It gets new lighted visor vanity mirrors, rear center three-point seat belt and head restraint, revised exterior trim, driver seatback pocket, and a windshield shade band. The company also adds a new Touring Package to which you can add rear seat air conditioning. The Premium Package has four-way power passenger seat.
Exterior features for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero include: 16-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, privacy glass, rear defogger, intermittent rear wiper, roof rack, swing-out opening rear quarter windows, body-colored bumpers, remote keyless entry, power mirrors and windows, and a rear side-hinged door. The Limited trim adds heated power mirrors.
The aerodynamic front, bulging fenders, and side cladding makes the Montero look sporty and tough. The rear door is hinged on the right side, which is unusual. The cargo area is low and the seats fold down easily. It is built in a unibody chassis. It is four inches wider and two inches lower than the 2001 model. The Limited trim has color-keyed fender flares and tubular side steps. The front features integrated fog lights. Towing capacity is 5000 pounds and the payload capacity is 1300 pounds. Cargo area with all seats in place measures at 42.1 cubic feet and 96.4 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
The interior features of the Montero include: air conditioning, six-speaker AF/FM/CD in-dash stereo system, velour upholstery, cruise control, bucket front seats, height-adjustable driver’s seat, second-row split-folding bench seat, folding third-row bench seat, tilting steering wheel with integrated cruise controls, and speed-proportional power steering. The Limited trim adds: faux wood trim on the center console, dashboard, and doors, leather and wood trim on the tilting steering wheel with integrated cruise controls, seven-speaker AM/FM/CD player in-dash stereo system, trip computer, compass, ten-way power heated driver’s seat with height and lumbar support adjustments, heated passenger seat, and leather upholstery.
The controls are conveniently placed, but the icons used to depict the various car statuses are small and hard to read at times. The interior materials used are sturdy and good. The cabin is well constructed and attractive. The front seats are roomy and comfortable. The optional second-row captain’s chairs are roomy and bolstered well. The second-row bench seat can seat three adults without much crowding. The entry and exit to the rear is a harrowing experience because the floor passageway is narrow. It has a low step-in which makes getting in and out of the SUV easier. The third-row bench seat has enough room for three children to be comfortable, but cramped for three adults. The cargo area has plenty of cargo space.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Mitsubishi Montero is powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that makes 200 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a four-speed transmission. The XLS trim has part-time four-wheel drive and the Limited has ActiveTrac, which lets you choose two-wheel drive, full-time all-wheel drive, high-range four-wheel drive, or low-range four-wheel drive. The eight-inch ground clearance and four-wheel independent suspension allows you to traverse very rough terrain and yet it is soft and forgiving on smooth pavement.
The Montero does not handle like a car, but more like the truck platform upon which it was based. It is quite unstable in hard cornering and it displayed marked body lean during panic lane changes and fast turns. The heavy body and automatic transmission proves to be too much for the V-6 engine in its lethargic acceleration, especially when the car is fully loaded with passengers and cargo.
Standard safety features for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero include: dual front airbags, side/curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), remote anti-theft alarm system, engine immobilizer, dusk-sensing auto delay-off headlights, front and rear disc brakes, electronic Brake force distribution, and rear child-safety door locks. The Limited trim adds front fog lights.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Montero an “acceptable? rating for frontal-offset crash test results.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mitsubishi Montero XLS: 14/17 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Montero Limited: 13/17 mpg city/highway
- Distinctive exterior styling
- Superior off-roading ability
- Japanese-build quality
You Won't Like
- Poor acceleration
- No available V-8 engine choice
- Near-useless third-row seat
Designed for off-roading and not city driving.
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